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2005| January-April | Volume 9 | Issue 1
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An overview of occupational health research in India
Ramanakumar V Agnihotram
January-April 2005, 9(1):10-14
Recent industrialization and globalizations are changing the Indian occupational morbidity drastically. Traditionally labor-oriented markets are on change towards more automation and mechanization, at the same time general awareness about occupational safety, occupational and environmental hazards were not spread in the society. This review will provide an overview of existing evidence from community based epidemiological studies and address the growing needs for evidence-based occupational health research in India. Review of all published results. Occupational research is seen as more complex issue in India, which Includes child labor; poor industrial legislation; vast informal sector; less attention to industrial hygiene and poor surveillance data across the country. While India experiencing economic transition, occupational research approach should balance between understanding the modern industrial exposures and health risks of traditional sectors like agriculture and plantations. Strategies like modern occupational health legislation, enforcement machinery in sub-district level, training to health professionals, need for epidemiological evidence and international collaborations were discussed to deal with the situation.
Child labour in footwear industry: Possible occupational health hazards
Rajnarayan R Tiwari
January-April 2005, 9(1):7-9
The constitution of India, as a part of the fundamental rights, has laid down that the State shall direct its policy towards protection of childhood and youth against exploitation and shall not be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any hazardous employment. India has the largest number of urban and rural child workers in the world. The Government of India acknowledges at least 17.5 million working children.2 Footwear industry is also one of the major export oriented industry employing a large number of children. The Footwear Industry is a significant segment of the Leather Industry in India. India ranks second among the footwear producing countries next to China. The industry is labour intensive and is concentrated in the small and cottage industry sectors. While leather shoes and uppers are concentrated in large-scale units, the sandals and Chappals are produced in the household and cottage sector. The major production centers India are Chennai, Ranipet, Ambur in Tamil Nadu, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Kanpur and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Jalandhar in Punjab and Delhi. The processes in the footwear making include last making, pattern cutting, clicking, Sewing, Assembling and Finishing. Children between 10 and 15 years old are mainly employed in assembling shoes. Some 80 percent of the children work for contractors at home. Children work on soling (fixing upper portions of shoes to leather or rubber soles) with glue. Children in cramped poorly lit rooms suffer from continuous skin contact with industrial adhesives and breathing vapors from glues. The children working in the footwear industry are exposed to physical factors like poor illumination, noise and poor ventilation, and chemicals like leather dust, benzene that is used as a solvent in glues and p-tert butyl phenols, which is used in neoprene adhesives. Thus most children suffer from respiratory problems, lung diseases and skin infections through constant exposure to glue and fumes. They are also exposed to risk of nasal cancer, neurotoxicity and adverse physical factors. It is recommended to stop child labour and let the child be bread eater rather than bread earner.
Decreased total and ionized calcium levels and haematological indices in occupational lead exposure as evidence of the endocrine disruptive effect of lead
JI Anetor, TS Akingbola, F AA Adeniyi, GO Taylor
January-April 2005, 9(1):15-21
The multisystem and prime environmental and occupational toxin, lead (Pb) is seldom included in the list of endocrine disruptors group like bisphenols A, B and F, nonylphenol, benzoquine, equiline etc. One hundred and thirty-seven subjects consisting of 86 lead workers and 51 unexposed individuals (as controls) participated in the study. Dietary intake including dairy products and micronutrients as assessed by 24-hour dietary recall was similar between lead workers and controls. Calcium homeostasis and haematological indices were evaluated in all subjects. Blood lead level was significantly higher in the lead workers than in controls (P<0.001). Total and ionized calcium levels were in contrast significantly decreased in lead workers compared with controls (P<0.01, P<0.001 respectively). Inorganic phosphate level though slightly raised compared to controls did not reach statistical significance (P>0.05). The haematological indices, haemoglobin, haematocrit, and mean cell haemoglobin concentration like calcium levels were all significantly reduced (P<0.001) in all cases. Semi-quantitative assessment of erythrocyte protoporphyrin was trace (±) in both lead workers and controls (i.e. similar). Serum copper level was significantly higher in Pb workers than in controls (P<0.005). These decreases are consistent with a repression of the endocrine systems regulating both erythropoiesis and calcium homeostasis resident in the proximal convoluted tubule(PCT) of the kidney; the most vulnerable site to Pb damage. Our findings therefore, appear to provide evidence or a reminder that Pb satifies the conditions defining EDCs and should be recognized as one, especially in developing countries where high environmental Pb and malnutrition co-exist and may magnify this effect
TNT biotransformation potential of the clinical isolate of Salmonella typhimurium - potential ecological implications
Geetanjali M Litake, Suresh G Joshi, Vikram S Ghole
January-April 2005, 9(1):29-34
Out of fifty-six isolates screened three bacterial strains enriched with TNT either as sole source of nitrogen (for Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumoniae) or along with co-substrate (for Acinetobacter baumannii), have been carried out nitro group reduction under aerobic conditions. During studies, S. typhimurium found to have high potential (100% of 50 mg l-l) in removal of TNT, than K. pneumoniae (70% of 20 mg l-l) and A. baumannii (52% of 40 mg l-l, in presence of co-substrate). Therefore studies were focused on S. typhimurium, which had shown good growth, and protein contents, with disappearance of TNT, and concomitantly release of nitrite over the period of time. Removal of TNT was analyzed by HPLC, and nitrite liberation was consistently found coincided with TNT disappearance from the medium. As compared to earlier reports, 100% disappearance of TNT within 30 h by S. typhimurium is encouraging, and may indicate its potential in bioremediation of TNT. This is the first report on S. typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii for transformation of TNT with nitrite release into the medium.
Assessment of risk at workplace: A study on radiographers work practices in Vizag Steel
PV S Prabhakara Murty, KV Lakshman Rao
January-April 2005, 9(1):26-28
The main purpose of this study is to assess the health risks posed by radiographers and to determine whether existing controls at work place are adequate. This small survey conducted in the year 2002. All nine (male) radiographers aged 35-45 years (median 38 years) and control subjects (24) who were matched for sex, age (within 3-5 years) interviewed using a questionnaire about symptoms experienced during and off work. There were no smokers. The total number of symptoms experienced by the radiographers was greater than controls. Symptoms like headache, and skin irritation were persistent in two radiographers during and off work. Visual observations revealed that, all the radiographers while on work used lead aprons and film badges. Results of personal exposure to ionizing radiation were within the normal limits. Identified hazards in the working environment are (i) exposure to ionizing radiation, (ii) exposure to chemical contaminants. Based on the subjective judgment of radiographers, existing work practices and personal exposure results to ionizing radiation, the estimated risk level was moderate. Risk control action plan developed to bring the risk level to tolerable.
A preliminary cytogenetic and hematological study of photocopying machine operators
PK Gadhia, D Patel, KB Solanki, DN Tamakuwala, MA Pithawala
January-April 2005, 9(1):22-25
The incidences of chromosomal aberrations(CAs) as well as sister chromatid exchange frequencies (SCEs) was evaluated from 12 photocopying machine operators working on an average 8-9 hours per day for more than five years. A complete blood picture of each individual was assessed with an automatic particle cell counter. Additionally, blood pressure was measured at the time of blood collection from all photocopying machine operators. For comparison, the control group included another 12 individuals matched according to age, sex, socioeconomic conditions as well as other personal habits. The observations of the present study are indicators of health hazard for, although small, there was a significant increase in the percentage of aberrant cells (P<0.05), total aberrations (P<0.01) as well as total aberrations excluding chromatid gaps (P<0.01) among photocopying machine operators when compared to controls. However, results on SCE analysis of photocopying operators revealed no significant difference from the controls. At the same time all photocopying operators exhibited normal hematological parameters as well as blood pressure values.
Role of occupation as a risk factor for sexually transmitted disease: A case control study
Mohan C Shendre, Rajnarayan R Tiwari
January-April 2005, 9(1):35-37
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a major public health problem. The epidemiology of STDs is distinctive because of common behavioral and biological features. Occupation is one of the socio-demographic factors, which not only act as a risk factor for acquiring STDs but also as a factor for the spread of the acquired infection. The information was collected about the nature of the occupation and it was categorized as unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled, professional and housewives. Most of the subjects belonged to sexually active group. Male to female ratio was found to be 10.9:1. The majority of the cases of sexually transmitted diseases belonged to unskilled profession and most of these were unemployed. They also had twice higher risk of having STDs as compared to controls (OR=2; 95% CI= 1.01-3.95). The analysis of statistical parameters suggested that in this study 28% of the total cases of STD could be attributed to the unskilled profession and 50% to the job requiring frequent travel. Similarly, 15% of the total STD in population can be attributed to the unskilled profession; while only 5% can be attributed to the job requiring frequent travel. It can be concluded that occupation can be considered as a significant risk factor for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. The unskilled and unemployed on one hand and those employed in occupations, which require frequent travel outside the place of residence, constitute the high-risk groups.
Occupational health service - Need for competency development
January-April 2005, 9(1):5-6
Looking forward to "Working together"
January-April 2005, 9(1):4-4
Report of the 55th National Conference of IAOH at Pune - 4 to 6 February 2005
January-April 2005, 9(1):39-41
World Health Day 2005 - Implications for occupational health
January-April 2005, 9(1):38-38
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